Changing by Design: Organizational Innovation at Hewlett-Packard

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9780801474217: Changing by Design: Organizational Innovation at Hewlett-Packard
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How do corporations achieve change? In the first analytic book about Hewlett-Packard, Deone Zell also offers an ethnography of corporate redesign, documenting Hewlett-Packard's radical reorganization of both a manufacturing and a research division. Because she writes from within the process as it unfolds, Zell is able to demonstrate how the inclusion of employees in every step of redesign can inspire the knowledge and commitment to transform an organization.

Hewlett-Packard is among a growing number of companies in the United States exploring what is called sociotechnical systems (STS) redesign. As competitive pressures have grown, interest in STS has increased because it has the potential to catalyze comprehensive organizational change and avoid the pitfalls of a piecemeal or small-scale approach. STS works from the ground up, involving front-line employees in analysis and redesign of the entire organization and in explicit examination of an organization's culture.

In Hewlett-Packard's California Personal Computer Division, production operators worked alongside managers to redesign their printed circuit assembly line into self-managing teams of employees. In the Santa Clara Division, a very different workforce of engineers, initially unwilling to standardize their creativity, had to develop commercial applications and become more responsive to customers in order to survive.

On the basis of Hewlett-Packard's success, Zell concludes that, with top-level support and a high investment of resources at the outset, redesign can inspire relatively rapid change, especially suitable for organizations in fast-paced environments. As one H-P manager commented, "Empowerment is no longer a nice thing to do. It is now a business imperative."

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"This is the first participant observer report on an important organizational design project in a major company. It is also the first book to describe the process fully as it is taking place, and it makes clear implications for such major changes in other companies."--William F. Whyte, Cornell University

"I cannot think of another book that better conveys the sense of what it is like to be inside an organization that is radically rethinking its core activities and assumptions. The issues and disputes that emerge not only convincingly portray the nature of daily life inside an organization but also point to the kinds of details that, if overlooked, can thwart even the best-intentioned organizational schemes."--William Finlay, University of Georgia

"Deone Zell is able to go far beyond others who have tried to describe and analyze critical industrial change processes because she has been there, on the plant floor and in the laboratory working with the people who are going through the changes. Her message is a powerful one because she was there!"--Hirsh Cohen, Vice President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

About the Author:

Deone Zell is Associate Professor of Business and Economics at California State University, Northridge and the author of Awakening the Academy: A Time for New Leadership and Strategic Thinking in Times of Turbulence: An Insider's View.

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9780801432989: Changing by Design: Organizational Innovation at Hewlett-Packard (Ilr Press Books)

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